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Americans Continue to Spend More at Christmas...but I’ve Had It

Was Santa good to you this year?

Chances are he’s at least been better to you over the course of the last few decades. According to an article at CNN.com, the so-called middle class continues to spend larger sums during the holiday season, and a big part of the reason is simply the desire, or maybe some feeling of obligation, to do more. Yes, prices are up, but that’s not the only reason for the rise in the amounts people are spending – most of us simply seem to want to drop more dough, and, it should be noted, such has become easier to do, now that personal technology devices have largely become the requested, and given, gifts for the holiday; it was not possible, of course, to give someone a laptop computer or a tablet in 1980, but, these days, it’s considered no big deal to give such pricey gadgets to even very young children.

Christmas

As for me, I’ve been spending less for some years now, and made the conscious effort to do so because the “thing-buying” component to the holiday became too overwhelming for me. It remains a lot of fun to see the looks on family members’ faces as they open presents on Christmas morn’, but those around me will have to be content to receive those items they want which exist on a somewhat smaller scale. Part of what makes this easier, admittedly, is that everyone in my family is now well into adulthood, and I have long been of the opinion that once you are firmly ensconced into that community, you can buy your own pricey “stuff.” Still, I’m comfortable that even if there remained some younger family members for whom to buy, scaling back would still take place - I want each recipient to like and enjoy what he or she receives, certainly, but I’m OK without the overjoyed, jaw-dropping shrieks…and they’ll have to be, as well.

For those who insist on running around like crazy and spending madly at Christmas time, God bless you…but I will no longer be participating in the frenzy. I think the shift began for me in earnest a few years ago, when I took a call from a friend while standing in line at Best Buy; my friend asked me what I was doing, and I off-handedly thought to respond sarcastically with, “I’m celebrating the birth of our Savior by waiting in line to purchase an Xbox.” He laughed, as did I, but since that brief exchange, I’ve actually found myself spending less…and enjoying the season more.

As noted, I am in the minority, apparently - the data says most are spending more, and they must prefer to do it, because spending a lot of money at Christmas is not (yet) a law. Nevertheless, I remain committed to bucking the trend; ultimately, it is not about the money, but, rather, the growing desire on my part to regain, at least in my tiny corner of the world, the perspective that seems to be diminishing at the same rate at which gift tallies continue to rise each year.  

    Robert G. Yetman, Jr.

Managing Editor, The James L. Paris Report

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